Change has come to Zimbabwe. There is a new administration. It might be the same faces but their roles have changed. So should the way they think, the way they see things and more importantly the way they do things.
The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front has been known for coming up with very good policies but has a very poor implementation record. It talks too much with very little action. That must stop. But most importantly, discord must stop. If the party or the government is not agreed on something, no one should talk.
Take indigenisation for example. Over the last 30 days, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is still part of the new administration, said the government would be moving away from the straight jacket approach on indigenisation. The 51/49 percent mix would remain an aspiration but the empowerment policy would be implemented on a case-by-case basis.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda added his voice. He said business should lobby Parliament to amend the law to suit what it wants. “State the inconsistencies and bring them to Parliament and Parliament will make noise. I have confidence in this Parliament,” he said. “If Parliament starts probing as we have been doing all along, there will be movement.”
An enthusiastic Christopher Mushowe came guns blazing when he was appointed new Minister. Zimbabwe is not begging for investment and investors willing to venture into the country must respect its laws.
“The investors should not look at us as beggars. They should not expect us to give in to their demands. Those who want to come and invest in Zimbabwe must come and invest in Zimbabwe under the laws of Zimbabwe and surely they will get more than the value of their investment,” he said.
“We cannot satisfy everybody because it not possible, but we must make sure that we make a mark. People must see the empowered ones, which companies have been indigenised; we cannot continue to empower the elite when the generality of our people are not being empowered.”
Now Deputy President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the government will come with new business policies next year.
“Next year when both industry and commerce come back to work, we should be pronouncing new policies more biased towards relaxation. That is what I can say at this stage,” he said.
“In the budget statement Finance and Economic Development Minister Chinamasa said he was going to re-examine the issue of indigenisation. I do not know what is going to come out of that revisit, but we believe it is to make investors more comfortable and make investment easy. The question of investors coming here and spend six months consulting is not good. We also need to find out sector by sector how fast we can structure consultation procedures in those areas.”
Next year is less than 10 days away. Industry usually opens in the second or third week of January. Is Mnangagwa saying a new policy would be ready by then, that is, in less than a month? What will happen to ZIMASSET?
These are all questions that come to mind and must never be left unanswered for too long. The new administration must put its house in order first and then speak with one voice. After all, the whole “clean-up” exercise of the party was to have one power centre- ostensibly with one voice, one policy.